The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a number of changes that impacted the way companies are run. Most were required to swiftly transition to a fully remote workforce, while others opted for a hybrid office model. According to a survey commissioned by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, two-thirds of Australians were sometimes or always working from home in mid-2021, compared to 42% pre-pandemic.
While many companies have been eager to transition back to their standard mode of operation as restrictions have lifted, an increasing number have chosen to retain or even expand their remote working policies.
It makes sense considering the many benefits of transitioning to a fully remote working environment. Downsizing your office not only cuts costs, but can also lead to increases in productivity, employee engagement, and talent retention.
Of course, remote work isn’t without its drawbacks. So how do you ensure that your workplace transitions smoothly to a fully remote workforce? In this article, we share 7 top tips from CEOs to help you and your employees to reap the benefits of remote work.
1. Establish Milestones
Setting milestones allows you to monitor the progress of certain projects while also making it easier and less frightening for staff to perform those duties.
Employees should also be able to easily track their progress in a fully remote workplace. Doing so enables them to keep track of their development. It also makes it straightforward for you to determine where they stand. In a typical in-person work situation, you can inquire about the status of a task from an employee, whereas in a remote working environment, staff should keep you informed in this manner.
2. Clearly define your bigger picture company thinking
It’s easier to disconnect your day-to-day activities from the company strategy in a remote workforce. It’s therefore important that employees can still tie what they do every day to bigger picture company thinking.
There are a couple of things you can do to better define your bigger picture company thinking. For example, think about whether it’s necessary to adjust your all-of-company communications. You may need to change the frequency of town halls or all hands to improve communications in a virtual team.
As there are fewer incidental ways to keep employees up-to-date in a fully remote workplace, it’s also crucial to ensure all leadership levels can connect their team’s work to company strategy. Invest time to communicate with leaders and possibly rethink your KPI framework, such as OKRs or your V2MOM.
– Johanna Seton, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Doorsteps
3. Schedule Time for Connection Building
Schedule time for connection building and getting to know one another. It’s also important to make a conscious effort to be inclusive and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
Be sure to recognise that some members of your organisation require social group membership. So try to acknowledge all victories, no matter how minor. Finally, keep in mind that individuals want to be a part of meaningful work and to feel a sense of connection to the business.
– Jamie Opalchuk, Founder and CEO of HostPapa
4. Concentrate on Establishing Trust
Transitioning to a remote workforce necessitates a shift in perspective. Leadership must place a premium on trusting their followers. This includes increasing autonomy, entrusting individuals and teams with decision-making authority, increasing transparency through improved communication skills, and holding individuals accountable for their own results.
Trust is a two-way street. While faith in management is critical, leaders must also trust their people and have confidence in their capacity to bring the business forward. Leadership is much less about monitoring their work or managing their presence than it is about creating an atmosphere in which teams desire to produce their best work and are rewarded both directly and intrinsically for it.
– Kevin Cook, Chief Product Owner at TrackRight
5. Provide the Necessary Tools
Communication and cooperation are critical components of remote work. Unfortunately, they can easily be disturbed during the move from office to remote settings. The good news is that there are a variety of useful tools and platforms that can be efficiently implemented that provide significant support to remote teams.
Businesses looking to smoothly transition to a fully remote workplace should investigate new communication technology. New remote teams can consider the following tools:
- An easy-to-use video conferencing software e.g. Zoom
- A real-time messaging app e.g. Slack or Flock
- A shared document platform e.g. Google Drive
- Collaborative project management tool e.g. Asana or Monday.com
These tools will assist employees in staying connected and management in staying informed. However, to truly transform a remote company into a powerful team, consider implementing a continuous performance management tool, such as 15Five, that enables employees at all levels to enter weekly goals and accomplishments, and for management to provide ongoing support to every member of their team.
– Steve Scott, CTO at Spreadsheet Planet
6. Factor remote working into your hiring decisions
When done correctly, the transition to remote work can be a great arrangement for both a company and its employees. To have a successful remote team, managers need to hire trustworthy employees that are very self-sufficient and need less than the typical levels of supervision to accomplish their assigned tasks.
While communication is a very important aspect of having a successful remote team, it doesn’t work well if you have to micromanage your team from a distance. Your team needs to be somewhat independent and only rely on managers’ input for questions and status updates.
7. Assess and Plan First
Shifting to a fully remote setup is not an instant move. It requires numerous assessments and a deep understanding of the status of the organisation. For any company that is planning to make the shift, assess and plan first.
Management should look into their employees’ ability and capacity as well as their current technology. Aside from that, you need to assess the projects and tasks that they need to accomplish and decide on the most suitable software that will fit with the needs of the workplace and the ability of the employees.
– Matt Post, Co-founder of Attorney Marketing Solution
By following the expert tips above, you’ll be able to give your company the best chance of transitioning smoothly to a fully remote workforce. As you can see, it’s a process that takes time, careful planning, and flexibility to adapt. You also need to know how to balance the needs of your company with those of your employees. Ultimately, any decisions you make should empower your employees to thrive in their new remote working environment.
“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."